In the light of day the solid world appears safely discernible. As darkness approaches the discernible melds into blackness. Anxious anticipation and fear replace confidence and security, as that which awaits in the darkness draws near.
“Go to the light” is the guidance of spiritual traditions. We turn on the lights to dominate the night, to safely traverse night’s feared demons. Home security systems promise protection from real or imagined demonic projections upon the darkness.
But what is the truth of those inner demonic projections, so frequently veiling the truth of the night? Jung appropriately named that disowned portion of the psyche, that which lives in the shadow. For Freud, the personal portion of the shadow was the sequestered human animal, whose sexual and aggressive politically incorrect impulses were relegated to wish fulfillment dreams.
Jung extended the reach of the shadow into all the unknown dimensions of self. Just the venture of letting go of ego control in the journey of sleep is a leap of faith. Who can guarantee that a night’s sleep will deliver them into life in a new day?
Dream is a natural entry point into the subtle spirit realm. As the body sleeps, the spirit naively launches into journeys in infinity. Will it safely return? Will its cord to the physical body remain intact?
What encounters will the spirit face beyond Freud’s wish fulfillments or repressed sins? Beyond the personal lies the collective, replete with entities unsettled and seeking. How will spirit handle these encounters? Will it be drawn into heavens of delight, or into hells of terror? These are the challenges of the journey of the dark night of the soul.
Beyond the collective lies the transpersonal, the light of the high SOUL. But the truth is that high SOUL is the Yin/Yang of white and black. In blackness is latent spirit. In light is spirit manifest. The light of the manifest requires shadow. Without contrast there is nonexistence.
To seek the safety of the light without owning one’s contrasting shadow ill prepares one for one’s true spiritual journey. One must reckon with and explore the fullness of one’s unknown self to avoid the trap of negative projection upon blackness, and the false security of clinging to the one-sidedness of the light.
All beings are black and white. To achieve the lightness of being needed for true ascension we must reconcile with, own, and treasure this wholeness. Without the darkness of the unknown our heaven in infinity would terminate in boredom. Without the light of consciousness to navigate the darkness we’d surely lose our way.
Inextricably united, may black and white journey in oneness into that good night.
Reason is the dominant tool of the first attention, what the Shamans of Ancient Mexico call everyday life. Beyond the first attention is the second attention, the world of energetic life, which is replete with all things irrational.
The Hindus note, for instance, that the emotional body component of the energy body, which is the home of powerful emotions and passions, is a prominent feature of the second attention.
Jung calls the second attention the collective unconscious, which lacking consciousness to guide volition, operates through the activation of powerful archetypes that can overwhelm the reasonable ego of the first attention, causing it to perform outrageous acts. To preserve the order and decency of normalcy, Jung asserts that these deeper dimensions of the psyche are repressed and housed in what he called the shadow, a component of the second attention.
Reason and shadow are mortal enemies, hence the natural tendency to keep them separated. Reason insists upon the rules of logic and fairness for decision making. Shadow insists upon the release of intense emotions and passions as its modus operandi, reason be dammed. Reason, in its own condescension, snubs the irrational shadow, misjudging the power of the repressed.
The history of humankind reflects the occasional reckoning of these two dominants in the clashes of world wars. Our current world predicament is a prime example of reason clashing with the formidable energy of the irrational. The world is rapidly disintegrating into such a primal clash at this very moment.
At a fundamental level the worlds of the first and second attention are layers of the same onion. As humans we are both consciously reasonable, solid beings, as well as irrational, energetic spirit beings. The totality of ourselves requires that we integrate these worlds despite their inherent opposition. Evolution is absolutely requiring such an advance at this time. How can we achieve this integration without the ultimate disintegration, Armageddon?
To begin, reason must address the limitations of its own belief system: “Things aren’t that bad… no one would let thathappen…” In fact, the shadow thrives on letting anything happen that offers it powerful release.
Next, reason must recognize that shadow is a dimension of its own self. Reason often doubts this, despite the many addictions or obsessions that it notices in its own functioning. Does it also notice its fascination and vicarious excitement with the emotional outbursts of now? Reason always believes that it has things under control, or that things are, ultimately, under control.
Reason must accept responsibility in developing a relationship with the energetic world of the second attention. When people discover the out-of-body world, they are often at first driven by insatiable desires, repressed in the first attention of everyday life. Maintaining the operation of reason, with the intents available in the second attention, is critical for deep responsible exploration.
I strongly recommend Robert Monroe’s three books, which detail his own journeys into the second attention with the evolving accompaniment of his first attention, reason. With his success and guidance, he is truly deserving of the title of American Shaman.
Exploration and reconciliation with the deeper dimensions of the self offer a playing field of deep soulful satisfaction, which checks the tendency of the shadow to need to project itself upon habits and outer events that mesmerize the ego and take over consciousness.
Ego must humble itself to the existence of energies within the self that are far more powerful than ego itself. Ego has reason, but that’s no match for the irrational. Ego, in its humble smallness, can say no however. What change would happen overnight in the world if all individuals just said no, not driving today, not consuming today? Such a world strike of no would force a different relationship with power.
Nonetheless, ego must not be unreasonable in its demands. The world of the irrational, the world of passion and spirit must be lived. Beyond the shadow of doubt, reason must join with its passionate, spirited, irrational self in deep exploration and life, beyond reason.
I was born to be a therapist, but my first college degree was in history. I chose history due to my conviction that if we don’t learn from history we repeat our mistakes. As with psychotherapy, a thorough recapitulation of our history frees us from repeating global mistakes.
My bachelor’s thesis sought to understand the etiology of controversial lectures that Carl Jung delivered to the C. G. Jung Gesellshaft (the Psychological Club of Berlin) in July 1933. I will report more on the findings of this exploration in coming blogs, as it delivers keen insights into the world patterns of now.
Barbara Hannah, an ardent student of Jung’s, was determined to attend these lectures, but this would require her to drive from Switzerland through Germany, alone. When she queried Jung about the advisability of such an undertaking, given the current atmosphere in Germany, he quietly deliberated and then replied, “Yes, risk it! Mind you, I don’t know what will happen, but it will be an interesting experience.”
I am reminded here of the sparkle of delight in Carlos Castaneda’s voice when he would tell us to go have our own journeys and, “See what happens!” All must discover for themselves the truth. We must become our own gurus, not simply rely upon what we are told.
Barbara reports that she encountered almost no cars on the highways but instead crowds of listless hikers wandering along the roads. Barbara writes that when Jung “read in the newspapers that the Germans were restlessly on the move, wandering from place to place, he was reminded of the wanderer Wotan and realized that this was an ‘archaic symbol’ that was certainly going to produce an unacceptable situation in Germany, unless enough individual Germans became conscious of the danger in time.”
History proves that consciousness did not prevail, and a collective trance set in that saw a civilized nation devolve into mass murderers, who committed the atrocities of the Holocaust.
Germany was struggling with difficult economic times, much as the world today is faced with growing scarcity, as the impact of climate change dries up resources and precipitates mass migrations. In an effort to empower Germany’s downtrodden, Germany’s ruler tapped into the themes of nationalism and white supremacy, blaming the alien, the not pure-white Aryan, in this case the Jews, for controlling and hoarding Germany’s national wealth that only legitimate citizens should be entitled to.
Despite the hypnotic prowess of a charismatic leader, citizens’ psyches cannot be hypnotized unless the rhetoric being preached by the leaders resonates on some level with their own personal beliefs. This is why Jung determined that consciousness, becoming conscious of the beliefs and forces within one’s own psyche and how they operate and hold sway, was the only hope to avert disaster.
When illegal immigrants are arrested and separated from their families, what is the citizen’s internal psychic reaction to this action? Many law-abiding citizens might express sympathy for the children, but blame the parents of those children for their unfortunate predicament. The underlying belief might hold that the illegal entry of those aliens into a country is robbing legitimate citizens of their entitled resources, which trumps the fate of those children.
Citizens might blame their leaders for such horrific practices, but do they inwardly go numb and passively agree, out of concern for their own personal survival? Only consciousness that is willing to honestly face the depths of those feelings and beliefs, within the self, can be freed to act beyond its narrow, self-centered fixation.
Fear, in this time of scarcity, has resurrected the challenges and behavioral solutions that resulted in WWII. Jung’s sage advice remains fully applicable. If individuals face their own psyches, with deep consciousness, they are no longer vulnerable to outer polarizing suggestions that justify white supremacy and elimination of other.
Just one individual who truly faces the darkness of their shadow can change the world. And what’s in that darkness? As mirrored by world leaders of now, we all have our own narcissistic MEüber alles, within us, that may rule from the shadows of our unconscious minds.
Consider the ME that insists on consuming the substance that places the overall self in crisis. Consider the blind conscience whose stock portfolio flourishes in the greatest market gains of all time, fueled by destruction of the planet’s resources and balance. Consider the ME whose hunger for attention takes actions that negate the true well-being of the whole self.
Can we bear the tension of the volatile energies of desire, like a Christ nailed to a cross, or a Buddha sitting unflinchingly amidst all the sensual delights and grossest fears of this world?
Such are the extremes we see exploding throughout the world now. Mass shootings simply reflect an individual’s inability to bear and resolve tension within, and they foreshadow the mass atrocities that loom oppressively on the horizon, if consciousness does not prevail. Let us not walk sheepishly on an old road to Berlin. Let’s refuse the scapegoat solution.
Let’s not repeat the nightmare. We must face it and wake up. Kali Yuga needn’t end in repetition compulsion. A new dream with true resolution waits on the horizon. But to arrive there, we must individually bear the tension of the polarity of consciousness and shadow within our own psyches.
Let’s evolve that dream now. Bring consciousness within, bear the tension of the opposites within, and allow that contained explosive energy to rise to the level of the heart chakra, where we are all in this together, parts of the same whole. And together, as one, we can indeed dream a new dream.
Learning from history,
Excerpts and references:Jung: His Life and Work, A Biographical Memoir by Barbara Hannah
“I woke up in such a mood; I can’t seem to shake it.”
What is this heavy feeling state that mysteriously envelops us like a fog as it thwarts our familiar energetic sense of self. A mood hardly seems part of our typical ego consciousness. It seems to derive from elsewhere in the vastness of our psyche, having gained enough momentum to overtake and color our state of mind and energy for the day.
A mood is the emotional expression of an other part of the self, a sibling of the ego, that typically resides in our shadow, the part of us that is also “us” but resides in the dark, outside our conscious light-bearing ego self. A mood is a concretely experienced example of a separate and distinct part of ourselves that impacts our consciousness, as well as our attitude, as we approach our daily lives.
Jung originally coined his psychological approach “complex psychology” when he discovered the existence of other characters in the psyche interfering with the conscious ego’s ability to respond to certain words presented in a word association test. This was expressed through delays in reaction time, as well as through physiological indicators of emotional distress. For Jung this was clear evidence of what he called “feeling toned complexes” or sub-personalities that coexist in the background or unconscious part of the psyche.
A mood can be understood as a form of communication to ego consciousness from an inner complex or sub-personality that expresses a powerful negative reaction or attitude toward something present or emerging in life. Given its debilitating impact upon the will of the ego, the mood may render the ego deflated or depressed. Often this can lead to an immobilized or compromised moody state.
The emotional tension generated within the individual by the mood frequently seeks relief via blaming someone outside the self as the problem. This of course can lead to endless misunderstandings and bickering as the scapegoated other reacts to questionable accusations. Unfortunately, the defensive need to relieve tension within the self often blinds a person to such distorted projections.
Ultimately, the sub-personality or complex behind a mood must be owned and reckoned with directly by the ego through an inner process of reflection and negotiation. The ego must suspend judgement toward the troublesome complex if it hopes to engage it in a reconciliatory process. Although the ego must endure a mood, it must also establish that it remains in control of all actions taken. Nonetheless, it must be willing to let the mood have its own voice too, that is, allow it to express its point of view, the reason for its mood.
The ego must be careful not to decide it automatically knows the reason for the mood, it must consult the mood directly. As we sit quietly with the mood we seek to have it communicate its point of view directly. We can do this through a process of amplification, by acknowledging the feeling state of the mood and asking for more information. Perhaps at this point an image or thought spontaneously comes into mind.
Perhaps we see a familiar person’s face in our mind’s eye. Perhaps we hear them saying something. We can listen and give attention to what they might say. If it’s just an image, no words, we can stay with the image and see what associations about the person come to mind. If we write down our associations we can then feel our way through them to see what associations feel more energized in this moment. In effect, we are building a communication bridge with the mood that gradually fills out its message.
Perhaps it becomes clear that our ego has felt obliged to accommodate a plan with another person because it doesn’t want to disappoint them. The mood becomes recognized as a shadow complex that holds the truth that we don’t want to do something. Its mood is an attempt to subvert action and have the ego assert itself.
The ego is now in a position to acknowledge the truth of the mood and the need to become more assertive with its true feelings. The ego can then validate the shadow complex and pledge to move gradually toward greater self assertion. This might set the stage for a fairly quick lifting of the mood. Sometimes it can be that simple, at other times far more complex.
The key to the resolution process is the acknowledgement by the ego of the autonomy and right to exist of the complex itself. Giving attention to the complex warms it toward the ego, but it must realize that the ego is in charge of all final decisions of action.
Treating a mood as an invitation to a dialogue shifts the focus toward positive collaboration. As difficult as that process may be, it stands to advance us toward inner unity and healing.
Move over Freud! Perhaps communing with moods is an even more efficient royal road to the unconscious, though of course dreams are always welcome!
The feminine is rising. At this moment in human history we find ourselves in a singularly unique position. The rising of the feminine offers an opportunity for the world to head in a new direction, to take us out of an old world order and place us squarely and securely in a new world where the man/woman inequality, now so prevalent, finally gives way to a new social order.
This new order could steer us away from the battle of the sexes and in the mutual direction of an acceptance of each individual person as unique and valuable, each one of us as an equally valued member of society, as important in the grand scheme of things as every other individual. We are all unique beings who just want to be accepted for who we are, our true selves. Some things would have to change for such wide-sweeping acceptance. We are already encountering the difficulties of true acceptance of our uniquenesses in the quandary over gender issues currently raging as strongly as the #MeToo movement.
The feminine principle in nature during the daytime is the earth itself; Mother Nature, Mother Earth, Gaia, Pachamama, the natural one upon whom all of our lives depend. The masculine principle during the daytime is the sun, the powerful penetrating light from above that exposes and reveals, that shines upon us all and from which there is no recourse except to go inside, away from the penetrating glare and heat of this penetrating eye.
The feminine principle of nature at nighttime is the moon, a softly penetrating glow of pearly maternal light that guides us through our dreams and our encounters with other worlds while we sleep and while we make our way in the darkness. The masculine principle at night is the darkness itself, the concealer of everything that the sun had lit and revealed. The masculine principle at night masks it all, asking us to forget it even exists.
In psychological terms the masculine principle in woman is called the animus, a term coined by C. G. Jung. He called the feminine principle in man the anima. These two parts, the animus and the anima, play important roles in every human life, in our interactions with others and within ourselves.
The animus is responsible for stirring woman from her naturally comfortable state as earth mother and moon goddess and giving her grounding in the world. The animus is responsible for ego-building and strengthening, establishing rationality, providing guidance and stamina to face what life presents at every turn. When the animus dominates, woman is taken too far from her true nature. Becoming masculine dominated, she is far removed from her true feminine powers and her true feminine self.
The anima in men presents with a similar dilemma. It’s important for men to be feeling and emotional, sensitive and not totally dominated by the sun god and the darkness, but to bring into everyday encounters and actions the feeling side of their feminine nature. Otherwise men are alienated from their own true feelings, haphazardly and unconsciously thrusting themselves into the world with little regard for how they affect others. Should the anima dominate men they become moody and demanding, wanting and taking, seeking to please themselves, often in self-soothing disregard for others.
With the advent of the empowering #MeToo movement women have emerged from the masculine dominated darkness of secrecy and hiding with an important message for everyone. Women are shining the glowing light of the full moon upon the truth of a male dominated society that has brutally and selfishly taken, controlled, and repressed.
The glare of this bright light upon the truths that especially women have had to bear for centuries is crucial, especially now as we live in a country that is dominated by the golden sun god himself and all his cronies who rape and pillage not only women and the earth but every decent and loving aspect of the feminine that has painstakingly been implanted through a long process of working toward mutual caring, equality, and balance in our world. In exposing sexual abuses women are showing that they are not afraid, that they will not be quiet any longer.
Women are strong. There is no doubt about that. But women must not become so dominated by the animus that they become like those men who abuse their power. It’s not about one sex dominating the other anymore; it’s about balance between the two, within and without. Women are in a position of power right now. The key is to not dominate but to take things to a new level, bringing the sexes together in a totally new way, making it clear that one cannot dominate the other if there is to be peace and equality in the world, and if there is to be acceptance of and respect for the unique individuals that we all are.
In the Soulbytes and other messages that I have channeled over the past few weeks what has been coming through has been the importance and the uniqueness of love—love as a unifying energy to be used for good, for advancement of the human species, for taking things to a new level, for establishing a new social order. It’s the antidote to hate, to anger, to divisiveness, to blame and shame. It’s what powers the feminine and is the power of the feminine too. It’s also the magic we all so badly need right now.
Let’s not forget that love is the answer. Let’s spread that message, men and women alike. It’s time for the feminine principle of love to dominate within us all. And it won’t hurt anyone.
Love is all we need.
A blog by J. E. Ketchel, Author of The Recapitulation Diaries